Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 404 - Picture Friday - Halloween Edition

"But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some super absorbent diapers," whines Andrew Skywalker.

"I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Gymboree," commands Princess Emma.


Princess Emma runs away from a ghost of her mother, Queen Abby-dala.


"You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought," complains Princess Emma about Andrew Skywalker's My First X-Wing (for Jedis ages 2 and up).


Have a great weekend...and may the force be with you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 403 - Pushing Miss Emma

For their birthday, Emma and Andrew received toy cars from our friends Jennifer and Kenny. The kids really enjoy playing with the buttons and switches on the car because they make noise.  Loud noise.  Loud, irritating noise.  Loud, irritating, we-don't-want-to-be-friends-with-Jennifer-and-Kenny-anymore noise.

Recently, Andrew started pushing Emma on the car.  It's quite cute.  But we're trying to stop Andrew from doing this because his leg muscles are getting way too developed.  Looking a bit freakish now.

Here's video of the kids playing with the cars!

video

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 401 - You Can't Handle the Tooth!

This past weekend, we celebrated Lisa's birthday at the Wood Ranch BBQ with a few close friends - both real and imaginary. One of the presents Lisa received was a bluetooth earpiece for her telephone. Since Lisa is not as electronically adept as I am which in turns shames her every time we go to our monthly Japanese Electronic Committee meetings, I set up the earpiece for her.

Around 6:25am this morning, the home phone rang. I checked the screen and it was Lisa's cell phone. "Hmm," I wondered. "What could be wrong?" I answered, but I heard nothing except the powerful hum of a Honda Accord V4 engine. But soon after, the car noise was drowned out by the powerful cry of Andrew Ichikawa's engine.

That's right. Because Lisa called for whatever reason, the telephone woke up Andrew. I went into the bedroom and calmed him down. I didn't take him out of the crib, but I just gave him little pats and hugs. After he fell asleep, I decided to call Lisa to see why she called.

"Hello?" she answered.

"Hey, it's me. Why did you call?"

Long pause.

"Hello?" And she hung up.

If it's not obvious to you, Lisa was not using her bluetooth earpiece. I could just see her yelling into her phone while her bluetooth was hidden in her purse between a bag of Big League Chew bubble gum and a vial of vicodin. I decided to go back to sleep. Just as I was about to pull the sheets over my buff, semi-naked body, the home phone rang again. It was Lisa.

"What's wrong? Can you hear me?" I said.

Long pause.

"Hello?"

"WHY ARE YOU CALLING?"

Long pause.

"Hello?"

This time I hung up.

But before I could go back to bed, Lisa's phone call woke up Andrew again. So I returned to the kids' bedroom, and this time BOTH kids were crying. I was walking back and forth between the cribs trying to soothe them.

"There, there," I told them. "Mommy's very bad with electronics." Sadly, this just made them cry more.

It took some time to calm the kids down this time. But after much patience and parental love, I was able to get them quiet. And by patience and love I mean I gave them their binkies. As I was patting Emma's head ready to leave the room, I heard the front door open with a loud...

"HELLO?!?"

In came Lisa rushing into the kid's room asking, "Are the kids okay? What happened?"

I'll tell you what just happened. Because Lisa came storming through the door making a ruckus she woke up the kids AGAIN! Bawl cry wail spit! Son of a...

Once the kids calmed down for a THIRD time, Lisa and I walked into the living room and I asked her why she called me in the first place. Lisa said she never called me, and she was wondering why I called her. I told her I called her because she called me and I thought it was an emergency. She told me she called me because she thought I was calling her about an emergency. I told her the only reason I called her back was because she kept calling me. And she said she kept on calling back because I was calling her back and she came back home because she couldn't reach me on the phone so she turned back around on her way to work and came running to the door to see if the kids were okay because I called her first.

BUT I DIDN'T CALL HER FIRST!

The bottom line was that Lisa accidentally called me and couldn't hear me because she wasn't talking with her bluetooth earpiece. So I guess the moral of the story is that not all Japanese are good with electronics. Oh! And math. I always thought math was kinda hard.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 400 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last week I asked whether or not I needed to entertain the kids all day. Thankfully an overwhelming 80% of you said there's no need to do this. And to the three of you who voted otherwise: screw you, go to hell, and your mother left her bra here last night.

I've got to hand it to people who stay home with their kids. I've only been home just under two weeks, and I'm pretty beat. I thought I was prepared mentally and physically because I was reading parenting books and doing my Wii Fit every day. But man, kids suck the energy out of you. There are days when you feel like the Nazi looking at the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. You're looking at your babies and you're mesmerized by their beauty. Then things take a turn for the worse, you're horrified by what you're seeing, and then your head explodes. You just hope for more days with beauty than exploding heads.

**********

For better or for worse, I will say or write or do anything that I think is funny. I've never been very good at censoring my sense of humor. There was a time in middle school when I was slapped four times by girls because of what I said. I believe one comment was something about a used tampon. I think even Lisa slapped me once. I believe it was a comment about a used tampon...I don't learn my lessons, do I?

But one thing I eventually learned to save my tender cheeks from welts was to learn your audience. If you know your audience, you can get away with anything. Ask O.J. So when I was putting together yesterday's video clip of Andrew playing with his puzzle piece inappropriately, what I eventually posted was the second version. There was an original cut that I decided not to post.

Well lucky you! I have decided to show you what I decided not to post yesterday. I will preface it by saying that the handful of people who have seen it already think this was funnier, but a few thought it was too perverse. Take a look:

video

So what do you think? Was I correct in not posting this yesterday? Or do you want to know where I live so you can slap the living hell out of me?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 399 - Puzzle Problem Part 2


As mentioned on Day 394, we bought the kids a wood puzzle with a rather peculiar farmer. The interesting thing about this happy farmer is that he's rather...umm...happy in the pants. I guess when they made this puzzle out of wood, they weren't kidding.

The kids enjoy playing with the puzzle although they're not that great at putting the pieces into the correct space. When they try to put the chicken piece into the horse space, I try to be a good teacher by saying, "No no no. You put the chicken piece into the chicken space, you friggin' idiot." They still don't get it...dummies.

Another thing the kids enjoy doing with the puzzle is putting the pieces into their mouths. We try to teach them not to put things into their mouths, but they're teething and we don't want to overuse the phrase "friggin' idiot".

There's one particular piece that Andrew enjoys putting into his mouth: that perverted farmer. You just know from the farmer's creepy smile that he must be a sex offender. And ever since I wrote the entry about this farmer, I get a little creeped out every time Andrew puts the farmer's knob into his mouth. Perhaps the quick solution to this is to do a little Farmer John Wayne Bobbitt action?


video

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 398 - Nosying Around

It was Lisa's birthday yesterday, and her classroom threw a party for her. Lisa brought home so much dessert home, we didn't know what to do with it. So we asked our friends Paul and Michelle if they would like some leftovers; they live a few miles away from us. Their house is probably a 15-20 minute walk from us, but since we live in Los Angeles it would be more accurate to say it's a 5 minute car ride.

When Paul came over the kids were in their pajamas ready for bed. Emma is usually the more friendly kid, but this time she was very whiny. I think she was cranky because of two things: 1) She was tired; 2) Paul was wearing no pants. But Andrew was in a good mood and took to playing with Paul right away.

And this was the beginning of the end...

Paul was lying down and Andrew was right next to him. Pretty soon Andrew started touching Paul's face. It was pretty funny, so I grabbed our camera and took pictures (Hey! I'm Japanese -- we have cameras every where in the house.). The touching soon turned into slapping Paul's nose.


Lisa and I were telling Andrew not to slap Paul's face between our laughter. Sometimes I wish I could conduct myself under the same social rules that babies live by. Imagine the fun! I could walk around in my underwear and people would think how adorable I looked. Or when eating bad food at a restaurant, I could make a funny face, spit out the food, and throw my plate on the floor. And if you're too lazy to find a toilet, just do the doo in your pants.  Man...being a baby rules.  

The interaction between Andrew and Paul continued and escalated from slapping to clawing. More specifically, clawing Paul's nostrils. I haven't seen a guy get beat up so bad since high school.  And let me tell you, the girl who beat me up in high school was on the wrestling team.  Paul let out a hysterical laugh and jumped to his feet as Andrew's baby fingers probed Paul's inner nasal cavity.  


Ouch!  I love picking my nose, but this is ridiculous.  Although I was just a few feet away from this disaster, Lisa saved the day and took Andrew away since I was too busy taking photos.  When Lisa looked at Paul, there was a feminine high-pitched shriek.  At first I thought it was Paul, but it was actually Lisa.  What was Lisa screaming at?  Look at this picture!

Andrew gave Paul a bloody nose!  Bad Andrew!  Thankfully, the bloody nose wasn't too bad and stopped soon after.  We had Andrew apologize to Paul, and their friendship was maintained.  Obviously, these things happen and hopefully we can teach Andrew through the years how to behave properly around body orifices.  As Paul returned home with leftover desserts in hand, I suppose the one bit of advice I'll give him when he visits us is this:  When Andrew is around, don't bend over.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 397 - Picture Friday

Sadly, Emma must brush her mutton chops after every bath.


"What is that Andrew?"
"It's the global economy about to crash on us!"


After a horrifying crash, Andrew is saved after the puppy air bags activated.


Andrew contemplates two options: 1) Push Emma on the car. 2) Push Emma off the car.


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 396 - Git In Meh Tummy!

Upon observing the kids, I'm finding that they each have their own way at learning different things. Andrew is better at figuring things out on his own. He can look at an object or toy and discover how it works. Currently, he's reassembling the transmission in our CR-V.

Emma is much better at listening and copying. I think that's why she was able to wave and clap before Andrew. My dream for her is that she will become the next great impersonator a la Rich Little or Frank Caliendo. Perhaps she can have her own show in Vegas one day. Her current repertoire is Joan Rivers, Joy Behar, Margaret Thatcher, and Carrie Ann Inaba.

The newest trick Emma learned is how to rub her tummy when someone says "yummy." Before leaving for Sacramento, Crazy Grandma Ichikawa taught her how to do this. Another thing that Crazy Grandma Ichikawa taught Emma is how to nag. And if there's one person who's an expert on that, it's Crazy Grandma Ichikawa. Sigh...

Here's a video of Emma doing her yummy:

video

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 394 - Puzzle Problem

If you recall, Lisa and I went to Babies R Us this past weekend to purchase a wood puzzle for the kids. The puzzle has a bunch of cute farm animals and a friendly farmer. All innocent fun, right?

OR IS IT?

Here's a picture of the farmer:


Ain't that a friendly farmer? He's smiling away and ready to get to work with his bucket of feed. Now here's a picture of the farmer puzzle piece:


Wait a second. That wooden knob is in an awfully unusual place. Could it be...



YES IT COULD!!!

That farmer is smiling because he has a bucket of porn and can't hide his excitement from the farm animals! Or maybe it's not a bucket of porn, but rather a bucket of contraceptives! Run barnyard animals! Run away! Save yourself! Better yet, run backwards! That way the farmer will have a harder time attacking you!

I'm obviously not offended by this puzzle, but I do find it funny that of all the places they could put the knob, they decided to put it over Farmer Dick's crotch. They could have put it on his chest or legs. But nope! Some genius at Puzzle Central said, "We're going to put this big, erect knob over the farmer's nether region." I'm sure the same genius decided to use rubber lips as a knob over the farmer's wife puzzle piece.

I should probably get my head out of the gutter and grow up. After all, I'm a father now and need to set a good example for the kids. OH SNAP! I got to wrap up now because Andrew is scratching his crotch and smelling his hands! This is hilarious! Where's the video camera?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 393 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last week I asked what we should do with Emma when she is whiny and seeking attention. Seventy-three percent of you say we should go ahead and pick her up, cuddle her, kiss her, buy her a pony, and erect a monument in honor of her. Twenty percent of you say we should not pick her up, but comfort her with words such as "It's okay," "You're not hurt," and "The bleeding will stop soon." I think what Lisa and I have been doing is something in between. If she trips and starts to whine, we will just tell her everything is okay. But if it's the end of the day and she's really tired and fussy, then we'll pick her up and build a small Lego monument in honor of her.

**********

Last Friday was my last day of work on a television pilot. Today is my first day of work as Mr. Mom. I don't know how long I'll be Mr. Mom because there might be a possible job out there, but I'm prepared to stick with it until my television show returns next February. And if my show doesn't return, do any of you out there know someone who would like to hire a sarcastic, yet charming man-child?

I'll probably devote an entry to my first week of being at home, but there was one thing that gnawed at me today: I didn't know how much to entertain the kids. As an uncle it has been easy for me to entertain nieces and nephews for a few hours. But as a dad, your material starts to run out. Imagine seeing the same stand-up act over and over and over again; that's me as a dad! My material is getting old. There's only so many times peek-a-boo and look-at-me-in-mommy's-clothes will get a baby to smile.

But should I feel guilty about not engaging with the kids every minute of the day? Is it okay for me to read a magazine on the floor while the kids are playing with stacking cups? Is it okay for me to put the kids in the crib while I go out to "lunch" with my mistress? These are the things that confuse me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 392 - Sayonara Suckers!


Today, Crazy Grandma Ichikawa and I'm-Not-With-Her Grandpa Ichikawa returned to Sacramento. Sadly, my dad hurt his back on Friday because my mom forced him to do his back exercises. Even more sad, this meant I had to help my parents pack up and clean their apartment.

When I got to their place, they actually packed everything up. All I had to do was carry luggage to the car and do some tidying up. But as with everything that should be simple, when Crazy Grandma Ichikawa gets her hands on something it gets all...well...crazy.

First of all, my mom packed up several large containers for me to store for them. I found it peculiar that they had so much crap although they were only here for 5 weeks. Looking through the containers revealed that my mom doesn't like to throw anything away. Here is a short list of things she asked me to store: disposable Panda Express chopsticks, wax paper, aluminum foil, Elmo wrapping paper, green tea bags, three rolls of toilet paper, one roll of paper towels, a large bag of assorted lotions, soaps, and cleaning solutions, and a used toilet bowl cleaner. I feel like you'd find more valuable things inside a homeless person's shopping cart -- or at least the same things.

I then started to help my dad load the heavy luggage into the car. When he opened the trunk, it was practically full already. My dad told me that half the stuff in the trunk were items my mom bought online, but wanted to return. This gigantic down comforter took a 1/3 of the room. Why my mom would buy a gigantic down comforter for Los Angeles when it has still been in the 80s is beyond me. But what surprised me more was that she bought these things online. My mom isn't the most tech savvy person. I think my mom still thinks Microsoft is the punchline to a joke referring to flaccid Asian genitalia.

The last thing we had to do was tidy up the apartment. My mom asked me to help her make the bed because she wanted it to look really neat. I obvious wasn't much help because everything I was doing was met with a "SCOTTY? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" And that was followed by a grunt and a sigh. All the while my mom was making the bed, she kept on saying "This is the way maids do it."

This reminded me of this story when I was in elementary school. There was this big confusion with me about what my mom did for a living. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, so that was her job. But when she first came to America from Japan, she earned her room and board by living with this old, wealthy lady. So my mom was this live-in, but not a servant at all; she only had to wear her geisha attire during tea and laundry time. Anyhoo, as a child in elementary school I confused this with my mom being a maid. So when my friends at school asked what my mom did, I told them she was a maid. And when I told my mom this, she said, "SCOTTY? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

By 12:15pm, everything was finished and my parents were ready to leave. Lisa came by with the kids, so they could say bye to Grandma and Grandpa. And by "bye" I mean pee their pants and eat Cheerios. I don't think my parents were too sad to leave because they know they'll see the kids soon enough with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner. Plus they are still planning on coming down here next year to babysit the kids when I start work again. Hopefully by the time they return, the kids will know how to say a few words. One word I hope they can learn is "maid."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 391 - Babies Rn't Me


Today, we went to Babies R Us. We wanted to buy the kids a wooden puzzle because they started to fit shapes into holes. Lisa found a farm puzzle with large farm animals. The puzzle pieces were the usual suspects: cow, horse, chicken, duck, goat, and a transvestite farmer. Quite the progressive puzzle.

Before hitting the cashier, we went up and down the aisles to window shop. I never thought I'd actual enjoy window shopping at Babies R Us, but when you have kids just the mere fact that you're out of the house is something to enjoy. Hell, I'll admit it. I even enjoy window shopping at Forever 21. There, I said it.

Pushing the stroller past the car seat section, a woman smiled at the kids and then smiled at me. I smiled back and continued on my merry way. Lisa was a few feet behind me and passed by the same woman. But instead of the pre-established smile acknowledgment greeting, the woman stopped Lisa to ask her a question about the kids. She was going to a baby shower for twins and wondered what to buy. But the bigger question is why did she stop Lisa and not me? Simple answer...

SEXISM!

That's right. I was not asked the question because I'm the strapping man who knows nothing about raising twins. Men are ignorant about babies, and women are all-knowing. And why are they all-knowing? Because women give birth to babies. But just because babies come out of vaginas doesn't mean women are automatically experts on them. I've seen a ping pong come out of a vagina, but does that make a woman a ping pong expert?

All I'm saying is that I felt a little slighted at the store. I suppose if you only had one baby, there might be a slight tendency for a mother to take care of the child more. But with twins, it becomes more of a team effort. Lisa and I pretty much split up all of the baby duties: bathing, feeding, cleaning, laundry, cooking, diapers, etc. The only thing she did that I couldn't do was breast feeding, but you can't say I didn't try. I got the scars to prove it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 390 - Picture Friday

"mmm...birch."


"I have ribbons in my hair!"


"I HAVE RIBBONS IN MY HAIR?!?"


"Emma Mia, here I go again! My my, how can you resist me?"


"Why are you donating me and these toys to Goodwill?"


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 389 - Stroller Stories


For the kids' birthday, my parents bought them a new double stroller. The one we had was this great Combi double stroller, but Crazy Grandma Ichikawa did not like it. She said the canopy did not protect the kids from the sun's deadly heat rays. She wants the kids to look as pasty as her white legs. So after a little research, we found a stroller that was fairly compact and had a big ass canopy...all to make our kids look like healthy albinos.

The stroller we got is a Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller. Quite a mouthful (...that's what she said...). It arrived in the mail the other day and it's really nice. It is so nice that's all I could talk about at work today.

I gave my friend at work the total low down on the new stroller.

"Dude! I put together this great double stroller last night. It was really easy to put together. All I had to do was snap on the wheels and attach the canopy. It weighs only about 25 pounds, so it's light enough for Lisa to fold it up. And it's so easy to fold up the stroller because you just grab two straps on the seat and pull up! That's it! Can you believe it? And the maneuverability is so much better than our last stroller. You can practically push with one arm. ONE ARM! And there's ample storage space. You have large mesh pockets behind the seats, and one large mesh compartment underneath the stroller. I'm telling you. This is a really good stroller. I can't wait to take the kids out for a ride..."

...and you can add another five to ten minutes to this conversation about our new, kick-ass stroller. IT'S KICK ASS!

As I was having this conversation with my co-worker, I noticed his eyes began to have that wax figure look: glassy and dead. Suddenly it hit me. I was (gasp!) BORING him! What have I become? I usually have such interesting and classy stories to tell my friends at work. Like the time Lisa did a major fart in bed and it almost made me throw up. Or the time when I was taking a crap and there was no more toilet paper, so I had to shuffle to our pantry to grab a roll without staining my pants. You know...class stories like that.

I remember when I was younger and listening to other people talk about their kids and my eyes would have that glassy, dead look. But now I understand why they would talk about their kids: kids consume your life. They eat you alive! 24/7 for the rest of your life you're a parent and that's all there is to it. I think once the kids get older, you'll be able to revisit your old interests (i.e. video games and porn). But when they're in the baby/infant stage, you really got to keep an eye on them. One second they're playing with blocks, and the next they're inside the microwave smoking a bong.

I apologized to my friend for rambling on about baby strollers, and he told me it was fine and he thought it was interesting. I questioned his interest in baby stories, so I started to tell him stories about diaper receptacles. And I was right: he was bored. How do I know? Well...he shot himself.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 387 - Public Emma-ny

Lisa and my parents call Andrew a rascal. I told them that he's not a rascal, he's just curious about things. They're just reflecting an adult interpretation of being mischievous and unscrupulous to an innocent child who is just trying to discover the world. How DARE they label Andrew a rascal. Humph.

Well, I was mistaken. Take a look at these pictures:




Not only is Andrew a rascal, but he's a baby terrorist! I'd call Andrew my little Osama, except I know exactly where he is and what he is doing. The other day I caught Andrew underneath Emma's crib taping all of his soiled diapers to her mattress. Keep an eye on this one!

I don't think Andrew means to terrorize his little sister. He actually enjoys being around her, and that's the problem. When you mix someone who is very active and physical (i.e. Andrew) and another person who is more contemplative and sensitive (i.e. Emma), you end up with a crying mess.

When the two of them are playing together, a meltdown will happen because: 1) Andrew pulls Emma's hair. 2) Andrew knocks Emma down. 3) Andrew falls on top of Emma. 4) Andrew takes Emma's toy. 5) Andrew duct tapes Emma to a hand dolly, pushes her to a busy intersection on Ventura Blvd, tapes a sign on her forehead that says "Baby for Sale", and pours dog food on her feet for feral street animals to feast on. I wouldn't worry about #5 happening again because we hid the hand dolly.

Lisa and I could easily separate the kids and have them play on opposite sides of the room, but we think that defeats the purpose of having another sibling. Shouldn't the kids learn that they need to share? Shouldn't the kids learn that they need to respect each other? Shouldn't the kids learn not to tape "Baby for Sale" signs on their forehead? The kids need to learn how to be friends and they will never learn if we keep them apart.

Maybe the kids are a little too young to understand these lessons, but one day they will. In the meantime, Lisa and I will supervise the kids and make sure Andrew doesn't bother his sister too much. And if there's one thing I can teach Andrew, it is to respect girls. Because if you don't, you may find yourself charged with a felony and sentenced to jail for 30 days despite your argument that it was all a misunderstanding and everyone was under the influence of bad mushrooms.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 386 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last week, I asked whether or not our meals for the kids seemed okay. We had some reservation that maybe we were either feeding them too much or giving them too much variety. The results show that 53% of you say to continue doing what we've been doing. And 33% say that maybe we should give the kids less variety, but larger portions. As for the remaining votes, I'm just going to pretend they don't even exist...much like the many illegitimate Japanese babies I have spawned and refuse to support.

I guess we'll probably keep on doing what we've been doing because it seems to be working for the kids. But more importantly, we're way too lazy and not creative enough with food to figure out anything new. Sorry, Emma and Andrew. It looks like you'll be eating tofu and drinking soy sauce for another couple of months.

**********

Emma and Andrew have two distinct ways of dealing with discomfort, surprise, or pain. Andrew tends to shake it off. There are times he will cry, but for the most part he'll just jump back on the horse. On the other hand, Emma's face moves in slow motion from shock to confusion to hurt to sadness to anger to raging lunatic. If you're not close to her when she's crying, Emma will hunt you down and pull on you until she gets the comfort and attention she demands.

Granted Emma is only one year old, but guess who else was also one: Paris Hilton, Lauren Conrad, Britney Spears, and Cloris Leachman (I just recently learned that the extreme elderly were also at one time one years old. Who knew?). I don't want Emma to be a crybaby or spoiled, but I also don't want her to feel that her feelings are being ignored. What should we do in instances when Emma isn't seriously hurt, but is seeking attention? Tend to her? Talk her off the ledge? Buy her new shoes?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 385 - Emma Has the Clap!

No, no, no! I'm not talking about gonorrhea. If I was, today's entry would be called "Lisa Has the Clap!"

About a week ago, Lisa taught Emma how to clap. Up until then, Emma would just flail her arms in the air much like her daddy did in elementary school when a pop fly ball would hurl towards him in left field. So Lisa corrected Emma and helped her practice bringing her hands together. And by George, Emma got it!

What's more exciting for me is that you can ask Emma to clap, and she will! Emma actually understands the words coming out of my mouth. This makes me think Emma is smarter than Lisa because there are so many times when I ask Lisa to do something, but she just ignores me. I don't know if Lisa can't hear me or has a hard time with comprehension, but she acts like I'm not even there. I hope Lisa's okay. Maybe she just needs a q-tip?

I'd have to say this is the first time I really feel like I'm communicating with one of our kids. Everything has been reactive for me so far. The kids want something, and we respond. But now I can speak to Emma, and she'll react to me.

"Emma, will you please clap for me or else you'll never see your mother again?"

And then Emma claps...and I release Lisa from the dungeon.

Here's a short little clip of Emma clapping:

video

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 384 - Portrait Saturday


For the kids' first birthday, Lisa and I weren't too sure what to get them. Our closet and drawers are full of clothes and toys, so what else could they possibly need? I suggested to Lisa that we buy the kids a new a/v receiver so they could listen to their Classical Baby videos in TrueHD and 7.1 surround sound. Suffice it to say, Lisa called me a dumbass. But I stood firm and told Lisa it would be more exciting to hear her call me a dumbass in 7.1 surround sound. So she called me a dumbass while circling me.

Finally, we decided we would take the kids to a portrait studio for their first birthday. Perhaps it's a little bit more of a present for us, but the kids will still have these photos as a memory of a time when they were soiling their pants 1-2 times a day.

After researching a few studios around Los Angeles, I was shocked to find out the cost. They were almost as expensive as hiring a photographer for a wedding. If I found a package price that wasn't too expensive, they hardly gave you any pictures at all. Sure we think our kids are cute, but I'll be damned if Emma's and Andrew's pictures are going to take money away from my video game fund.

Thankfully, one of Lisa's friend told her she took her kid to this portrait studio at their local mall called Picture People. One big plus is that there are no sitting fees so no harm done with crappy pictures. So Lisa made an appointment with them and we were set to go.

With my parents in tow, we all hit Picture People for our 1pm appointment. The process of taking the pictures wasn't that bad at all. It was all quite automated: 1) Take pictures of kids in front of backdrop with professional lighting. 2) Wait 20-30 minutes to see pictures on a large 30" computer screen. 3) Select photos that you want. 4) Wait another 5-10 minutes and take photos home. 5) Empty checking account to pay for photos.

What took the longest time was to select the photos. It didn't make it much easier Crazy Grandma Ichikawa putting in her two cents...

"You rike dat picture? Other one much bettah!"

"Dey so much cuter in person."

"Why eye so squinty in dat one?"

"She rook rike a prostitute and he rook rike a hobo!"

Eventually, we picked a handful of photos and bought a package deal. With this package we received: (1) frame with a 10x13 photo, (1) frame with four 4x4 photos, (2) sheets of wallet-sized photos, and (3) sheets of 5x7 photos. It wasn't too expensive, but it wasn't that cheap either. Let's just say that my Nintendo Wii will probably collect some dust this month.

Although I was a bit bah-humbug about this whole portrait adventure, my dad said I may not appreciate it now, but years from now I'll be glad we did it. So I asked my dad how many years? And my dad said, "At least thirty."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 383 - Picture Friday

We're going to have major problems if Emma continues to sit like this into her teenage years.


The first item on Andrew's bucket list: Remove bucket from head.


Emma practices her driver's license photo.


"It was clean when I got here."


Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 382 - Brush With Death!

I'm a pretty good driver. I've gotten into a couple of minor accidents, but who hasn't had a little fender bender in Los Angeles? But today I had quite the close call on the freeway.

I was driving to work this morning on the 405 south. The traffic was lighter than usual because it was one of those Jewish holidays like Rush A Shower or Yum Kiss Her. I really have no idea what I did, but all of a sudden as I was about to make a lane change I lost control of the car. I started weaving in and out of the lanes.

I remember someone saying (it was either Bo or Luke Duke) that if you lose control of your car, you should turn into the spin. Well, I'll tell you what. If you're spinning towards the right and there's a semi-truck next to you, you're going to want to turn towards the left. I'd say for a good five or seven seconds I was trying to gain control of the car. I'm not too sure what made me look at my gear shift, but I did and noticed I was in neutral. So I shifted into drive, got control of the car, and lucky me, I still made my off ramp.

All I can piece together is that when I was about to make a lane change, I must've knocked my car into neutral and then lost control over my speed and brakes. The first thing I did when I was able to steer was I looked in my rear view mirror. Although I didn't hit any cars, I was afraid that I might've caused another car to get into an accident. Thankfully, there was no 20 car pile up a la The Matrix Reloaded. Even more amazing was that when it was all said and done, I was as calm as I could be. Maybe it didn't hit me (literally and figuratively), but my heart wasn't even racing. I was a Zen Master! I did pee my pants, but that's a minor footnote.

As I parked my car at work and walked to my office, I started to think of how much worse it could've been. I might've been injured or the whole family could've been in the car and been hurt. That's the weird thing about having kids. I'm learning that you do become less self-centered and your entire world starts to revolve around these little bastards. And I use the term 'little bastards' in an endearing and accurate way because they are both little and bastards; the DNA test results came back and as suspected, the father is a Baldwin brother (either Stephen or Daniel).

The second most disturbing thing about this incident is I perpetuated the stereotype of bad Asian drivers. There's nothing more annoying than hearing Asians are bad drivers. I swear we're not! So please stop spreading these false Asian stereotypes. In the meantime, I think I'm just going to relax by doing some math problems and tend to my rice patty.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 380 - Weather or Not


Although it is October, we're going through a little heat wave here in Los Angeles. Today in Sherman Oaks it was 101 degrees. Since the kids woke up earlier than usual this morning, I had the time to change their diapers and get them into their clothes. The morning is the easiest time of the day to do their diapers and clothes because they're so groggy. I like to call it the baby hang-over: they're tired, incoherent, and they have piss in their pants.

Due to the weather, I thought I would put the kids in summer clothing. I put Andrew into a green striped t-shirt and some shorts; Emma wore a flowery cotton dress. When it comes to dressing the kids, there's a big difference between the method Lisa and I use. Lisa takes her time and looks carefully through the dresser drawer. Lisa looks outside and determines what the weather is. If we're having guests, she makes sure the kids are wearing something that they received as a gift. She also figures out a cute color coordination with the outfits. Maybe Andrew's top is blue and his pants are red, and then Emma's top is red and her pants are blue! Or maybe the flowers on Emma's dress matches the sailboat on Andrew's t-shirt. How delightfully cute!

On the other hand, my clothing selection is much more simple: whatever is on top. Funny enough that was also how I selected girlfriends in college.

My parents arrived around 7:30am to babysit. The first thing I heard is my mom in a falsetto voice singing, "Hellooooooooo. Wheeeeere Annnnnnndreeeeeew? Helloooooooo Emmmmmmaaaaaa! Guesssss who heeeeeeere? Grandmaaaaa and Daddddddy!" Yes, my mom often gets her proper nouns confused. She'll call herself Mommy and call me Grandpa. Sadly I can't even blame this confusion on her Japanese accent. It's just plain wacky.

My mom saw that I got the kids dressed, and of course she had to criticize my choice of clothes.

"It hot today! Hot hot hot! Emma wear dress? Hmm. Hard for her to crawl. Andrew has t-shirt on? Maybe he should wear tank top?"

I just shake my head and tell my mom what they're wearing is fine. She then told me how cold it is at night and whether or not the kids are wearing enough clothing. I told her it's going to be over a hundred degrees today and the kids are just fine going to sleep wearing a thong. If it's good enough for me, it's good enough for them. And the clothing conversation ended.

BUT...

...when I got home from work today guess what I noticed? Both kids were wearing totally new outfits! Emma was out of her dress and was wearing a yellow tank top. And Andrew's green t-shirt was replaced with a red tank top. I got hoodwinked! When I left for work, my mom redressed the kids! I was bamboozled! My mom ignored my wishes and did what she wanted to do! She did not respect my au-tho-ri-tay! Shazbot!

I suppose this is a part of the whole I've-raised-two-kids-and-I-know-what's-right-and-you-don't-so-listen-to-Grandma shpeel. Sometimes I forget that even though I'm a parent, I'm still a kid to my parents. Thankfully, I can laugh at this incident of my mom not listening to me. Hell, I'm used to it. Lisa hasn't listened to me for the past ten years.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 379 -Poll Results and New Poll


Last week I was wondering whether or not I should change the banner of this blog. Since the header is a year old, I thought I should update it with newer pictures. But 55% of you think I should keep it just the way it is, and 22% suggested I mix it up with the old and the new. What disappointed me the most is that only 2% (yes only 2%) of you think I should rename the blog to "Jessica Alba & Megan Fox in a Pod." I was SO upset with this small percentage of votes that I just had to do something about it. As you can see, I fiddled around with Photoshop and came up with this brand-new banner. What do you think?


I'll probably keep the original "Edamames in a Pod" up for a while longer, but I really do think I will need to redo it one day. In the meantime, I think I'll leave my temporary banner up for a few days. Or at the very least as long until Lisa finds out. Shhhh.

**********

One night, Lisa and I were nibbling at our dinner. Nothing very exciting. And as we were feeding Emma and Andrew their food, we came to a realization: their dinner was a lot more varied and exciting than ours. Here's what I mean:

Lisa & Scott's Dinner
Spaghetti
Marinara sauce
Two bottles of vodka

Emma & Andrew's Dinner
Whole grain pasta
Tofu
Sweet potatoes
Chicken
Broccoli
Bananas
Grapes
Two small bottles of vodka

Quite a difference, right? Granted we're not giving them huge servings of each item, but we're probably giving them around 10 small pieces. This got me to thinking whether or not we're serving their meals correctly. Are we doing something wrong? Less variety, larger portions? More variety, smaller portions? More "BAM", less "bon appetite"?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 378 - Sweating With the Oldie

When my parents babysit the kids, they try to keep them entertained. They play music, read books, and play games. But when all else fails, Crazy Grandma Ichikawa has quite a few tricks up her sleeve.

When I was a younger, I remember my mom being pretty quiet. She would take me outside occasionally, but what I recall is that I enjoyed entertaining myself. I would play with my Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and testicles for hours on end. Even when I left for college, I don't remember my mom being too odd. Yet somewhere between college and now, my mom became quite wacky. That is why we now call her Crazy Grandma Ichikawa.

And now this brings us to the intersection of babysitting and craziness. Even though both my parents are retired and getting up there, they're pretty dang peppy for their age. My mom tries to be especially energetic by making sure she exercises and eats well. Sometimes when she is babysitting, she'll do some of her exercises in front of the kids. And guess what? Emma started copying my mom with some leg exercises.

My dad caught it all on camera so I share this bond between Crazy Grandma Ichikawa and Crazy Emma Ichikawa with you:

video

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 377 - One Year Doctor Appointment


Yesterday, Emma & Andrew had their one year doctor's appointment. According to the doctor, the kids are "perfectly" healthy and seem to be developing just fine.

Every time we have a doctor's appointment, my mom has a question we must ask the doctor. This time Crazy Grandma Ichikawa wanted us to ask the doctor if the pieces of meat we were feeding the kids were too big. Common sense tells me that if the pieces were too big for the kids, they would've choked by now. BUT we still asked the doctor, and she responded what we were doing with the shredded chicken was fine and we could actually introduce all types of meats to them now. Goodbye chicken, hello big ass theme park turkey leg.

What I always like to find out is how large the kids are getting. Andrew is now 30 inches tall and 20 pounds. This puts him in the 55th percentile for height and the 15th percentile for weight. The doctor told us that he just seems to be one of those scrawny, lanky kids. This amazes me because everyone tells us that Andrew looks like me, yet I am such a mammoth of muscle so how could Andrew look like me? As for Emma, she is 31 inches tall and 23 pounds. This puts her in the 96th percentile for height and the 80th percentile for weight. The doctor told us that she just seems to be one of those....and then she bit her tongue and turned away from us.

Below, I made a progress chart showing how Emma and Andrew have been tracking over the past year. The blue and yellow lines on the top represents their height in inches. For the most part they have been tracking pretty evenly although Emma is just a little taller than Andrew. The green and red lines on the bottom represents their weight in pounds. I think it goes without saying that the green line is Emma and the red line is Andrew. For the first few months the kids were pretty similar, but then Emma just took off and never looked back.
And when I say she never looked back, I mean it literally. She can't turn her head anymore because her chin gets in the way.

Regardless of height and weight, the most important fact is that the kids are healthy. Lisa and I have had a very fortunate first year with the kids void of illness and troubles. And despite all of this good news, I still can't get this image of the kids growing up into something that looks a little like this: